Do Dogs Feel Jealousy?
June 25, 2021
If you have a dog, you may have noticed certain jealous-like behaviours, particularly when you pay attention to another dog, give a treat or play with a toy. When we bend down to pet another dog, our pup may shove his way in front of us, knocking our hand away from his canine companion, or our dog may become increasingly needy if another dog is around. But are these actually jealous behaviors? Experts disagree.
Dogs exist in a world of primary emotions. They don’t have the capacity for secondary feelings and this means that they don’t spend time suffering emotionally like humans do, this includes feelings of jealousy.
When your dog displays what is perceived as jealous-like behaviour, what you are actually seeing in your pet exhibiting natural pack behaviour. Social hierarchy is so important to dogs and a higher-ranking pet will assert itself when a lower-ranking dog is getting attention. A higher ranking dog has privileges and will ensure that this happens by body blocking (coming in-between you and another dog), pushing, jumping up, nipping, growling and in some extreme cases, aggression.
Be aware of the social hierarchy in multi-dog homes. Giving privileges to the subordinate dog before the other can result in conflict.
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